Saturday, 26 January 2013

Teppanyaki Style

When I typed the title for this post I had the Gangnam Style beat in my head, just in case you didn’t.  Now try to get rid of that earworm the rest of the day.

The first time I experienced teppanyaki was, oddly, a resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. These days we make it at least a couple times a year to the Hamachi Steakhouse on the beautiful Halifax waterfront or closer to home at Hamachi Grill in Dartmouth. Our most recent visit last week to the Dartmouth location was in celebration of V's birthday.

What is teppanyaki you might ask, I call it dinner and a show all wrapped up in one sweet package.  You sit at a U shaped communal table with a grill in the centre where the chef will amaze and delight you while cooking your meal. I assume that teppanyaki chefs all receive the same training so no matter where you’ll dine you will see the same basic show of knife skills, flipping of eggs and onion volcano.

Of course the experience can vary greatly depending upon the chef. Some are more engaging, have better skills, are funnier or encourage audience participation more then others. The food is good in its simplicity. Most of the courses are cooked on the grill with only salt, pepper, butter, soy and/or saki added.

At Hamachi, you can select various types of meat or seafood on it's own or in combinations and the price will depend upon what you choose. All meals start with miso soup and a salad, served from the kitchen. The chef appears and the show begins.  You get steamed rice as part of the basic cost but we always upgrade (extra cost) to the Japanese fried rice, which the chef will prepare on the grill. He then prepares the mixed vegetables (usually onion, mushroom, zucchini and baby corn) and then on to the meat or seafood part of the meal. Each course is prepared separately so eat them up as you get them or your rice will be cold by the time you get your meat course.

Be prepared to spend a couple of hours for this dining experience.  Also, unless you bring your own large group, be prepared to share the table with strangers. You can order appetizers to enjoy before the meal, which I did once. I usually find I’m pretty full with all the food included. And I don’t even know what they offer for dessert because there’s never room.  We did have one in our group who sat with us at the table but ordered off the sushi menu. Also, they are very conscientious about food allergies and will cook Brian’s steak before any seafood so there’s no worry of cross contamination.

We save teppanyaki for special occasions, it’s a bit on the pricier side but then you are also getting a great show with your meal, well worth the price of admission IMHO.

If you’re just looking for a less eventful meal, both locations have a shushi and grill menu.  I suggest you give the Sumo burger a try.  For only $10.99 you get handcut fries and hands down the best burger I’ve had in the HRM to date.  The meat is the star, perfectly seasoned and juicy, no fancy schmancy gourmet toppings required, just a simple topping of sautéed mushrooms and onions all on a Kaiser roll. Don’t even need condiments on this beauty of a burger.

Hmmm, suddenly I’m feeling a burger craving coming on.

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